At a time when medical technologies companies are aggressively competing for investment dollars, a Minnesota startup managed to land a sizeable sum from abroad.
 
Plymouth-based Mardil Medical recently announced that it has secured $6.1 million in funding in a financing round led by the Malaysian government.
 
Mardil is a medical device company that’s developing therapies for structural heart diseases, including abnormalities in the shape of the heart muscle or valves. Its first product—the VenTouch Targeted Ventricular Reshaping System—is a jacket that surrounds enlarged chambers within the heart, a condition that’s known as functional mitrial regurgitation and affects more than 600,000 in the United States. The system returns the chambers to their normal shape and is designed to eliminate the need for open-chest or open-heart surgery, and other more invasive procedures.
 
Mardil said that the funding will allow it to complete final development of its VenTouch system and conduct clinical trials in Europe, Asia, and Canada. The company plans to seek regulatory approval in those countries first and will then work to obtain market clearance within the United States.
 
Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), which bills itself as the Malaysian government’s national “innovation agency,” was the lead investor in the financing round. In an effort to help establish what it calls a “knowledge economy” in Malaysia, AIM invests in early- and growth-stage companies to promote the commercialization of products and services in the medical technology, renewable energy, and other advanced sectors.
 
Mardil CEO Jim Buck said in a statement that while the United States has dominated medical technology innovation for decades, “the irony is that strategic financing from Asia and elsewhere may be what it takes to secure American leadership for many pre-revenue-stage life science companies.”
 
He said that Mardil is representative of many U.S. life science companies in that it has developed a promising product but “conventional U.S.-based financing continues to be an obstacle in the current environment.”
 
Mardil said that Minneapolis-based trade organization LifeScience Alley helped it to secure the recent financing and that it was the first company to leverage LifeScience Alley’s emerging “innovation network,” which aims to facilitate access to people, technology, and capital. LifeScience Alley introduced Mardil to business advisory firm Tractus Asia, Ltd., which then directed it to AIM.

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